Packed with moves, especially midseason promotions and 2017 Draft assignments.
To The DL
Tigers placed RHP Kyle Funkhouser on the DL with an elbow injury. Funkhouser, who took his chances with the draft in 2015 by not signing with the Dodgers as their 35th pick and signing in 2016 after falling to the fourth round to the Tigers, was promoted to High-A a month ago. He has pitched quite well, starting five games to a 1.72 ERA and 1.04 DRA. He has struck out 34 guys and walked six to a 57 percent groundball percentage thus far.
Braves sent RHP Patrick Weigel to see Dr. James Andrews, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Per O’Brien, Weigel is considered the next pitching prospect behind newly debuted pitcher Sean Newcomb.
In some interesting player moves, Cardinals SS prospect Edmundo Sosa was placed back on the DL. Not the “interesting” move, but the moves prior to are interesting: Sosa was placed on the DL June 1st, was assigned to the Springfield Cardinals on June 16th, played in a single game going 0-for-4 with one walk, and then placed back on the 7-day DL on the 18th. I briefly profiled Sosa back when he was first placed on the DL.
In other NL Central moves, Pirates OF Austin Meadows hit the DL with a right hamstring strain that later resulted in an MRI. No word on the results, so be sure to check in again next week. Meadows is slashing .248/.313/.358 with four homeruns. SS Gift Ngoepe was also placed on the DL with a hamstring injury, except this was to his left one. Ngoepe who has a little brother named Victor playing for the Pirates in Bristol, made news for making history, which you can read on The Player's Tribune.
An update on RHP Mitch Keller: He was sent down to West Virginia Bears on a rehab assignment. It was his first appearance in a month, pitching two IPs, allowing one hit, striking four and walking none.
Though he was recently activated from the DL after recovering from knee surgery, Mariners CF Kyle Lewis was placed back on the DL with a minor injury suffered during an outfield play attempt. The duration should not be long.
The Yankees sent RHP Drew Finley on a rehab assignment to their Staten Island Short-season affiliate. He did not fare as well, allowing two runs and five hits, though did strike out four, walked none in 4.1 innings of work.
Giants placed 3B Christian Arroyo on the DL after getting hit by a pitch on the wrist. The timeline is uncertain, though he did avoid structural damage.
Recently signed Brewer 2B Keston Hiura received good news on high right elbow that relegated him to DH at UC Irvine. Brewers drafted him well aware of the elbow condition, however, believed to be a minor issue for the second baseman. You can read more about the story here. Hiura was assigned to the AZL Brewers, as was fifth rounder 3B Nick Egnatuk.
Oh by the way, in case you live under a rock, Yankees 3B Gleyber Torres…Tommy John in his non-throwing arm after sliding in head first at home. I wrote about him back when he came off the DL for right should tendonitis, you can read Jarrett Seidler’s Eyewitness Report on him. He looks happy and well post-op.
Off The DL
Missing essentially the entire first half, Cuban shortstop for the Blue Jays Lourdes Gurriel has been activated. He left his first game while legging out and infield hit, which I wrote about in the opening Weekly Wrap.
Rays 2B Brandon Lowe has been activated. He spent about 13 days on the DL, with three of those days coming during the Florida State League All-Star Break. Slashing .337/.432/.630 in a pitcher friendly league, he might not be in High-A much longer.
After starting the year on the DL, Yankees RHP Will Carter has been activated. He has battled shoulder injuries, but his better than average groundball rate and stuff (plus, plus fastball, plus curveball, though poor control) has the Yankees staffers high on him. Nevertheless, he was tagged for four runs in 2.1 innings striking out one. Also activated, but at the A-Ball level is OF Blake Rutherford. He had fouled a ball off his foot, and spent 10 days on the DL.
Nationals LHP Tyler Watson was activated from the temporary inactive list. He was initially sent on this list after reaching his innings limit for the first half. I spoke about Watson in last week’s Weekly Wrap, as was Blue Jays OF Joshua Palacios whom was also activated.
White Sox RHP Jake Dunning was also activated after spending a week on the DL.
Up the Ladder
Rockies SS Brendan Rodgers has been promoted to Double-A from High-A, after demolishing baseballs into obliteration in the hitter friendly Cal league. His stat line is worth checking out; I am only going to with his OPS of 1.119 and Wilson Karaman’s Eyewitness on him. Starting the season on the DL, missing over two weeks with the hand injury and being activated on April 24th, all seems like a figment of our imagination at this point.
Additionally, Rockies promoted RHP Sam Howard to Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A) from the Hartford Yard Goats (Double-A). He was roughed up in his first start (a high-scoring game where the final score was 15-14 in nine innings…maybe the ball was juiced?) since his promotion tagged for five earned runs and 10 hits in 5.2 innings. Fortunately, the stuff still plays recording five K’s as well. He is scheduled to start today, nonetheless.
It was a busy week in the Reds system. In case you missed it, as many scouts and teams did—more on that shortly—CF prospect T.J. Friedl was promoted to High-A Daytona. He was slashing .284/.378/.472 in Dayton showing speed and pop, hitting six triples and five homeruns with 14 stolen bases. Friedl went undrafted and signed for $732,500 in 2016. You can read about his signing here. It is a must read.
RHP Ryan Hendrix is moving up to Daytona later in the week from Dayton is sixth round pick in 2016. As a closer, he has struck out 61 guys, walked 10 in 132 batters faced. Albeit in the Midwest League (A-ball), those numbers give you a K percentage and BB percentage of 46.2 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively…Is that good?
Then from High-A to Double-A, all on the same day the Reds promoted Nick Senzel—2016 2nd pick overall out of Tennessee—Shed Long, Jake Ehret and Gavin LaValley, the latter whom I profiled in a Monday Morning Ten Pack and on an Eyewitness Report.
As I mentioned before, Senzel went second-overall in 2016 and has moved appropriately as so through the minor league system. Outside of his plus bat, Senzel is average across the board showing major league feel to allow for those average tools play up, ever so slightly. His bat is geared for hits, especially up the middle, and average pop. He gives pro at-bats spitting on pitches centimeters off the plate, looking as cool as the other side of the pillow, and protecting with two strikes. His advanced instincts plays into his defense, too, showing adequate defense with an average arm and glove. His defensive actions are not elite, but he can play the hot corner well. Though not a blazer, Senzel has good instincts, solid speed and will get on base enough times to steal 15 bags over a course of a season.
Ehret has had his time in Double-A without much success, hence, his second time in High-A. Over 41 innings, he is the owner of a 5.43 ERA in Double-A with a 1.780 WHIP average at least a hit per innings pitched. As for Long, I will profile him in this coming Monday Morning Ten Pack. Be sure to read!
And to continue with more Reds news…moving from Double-A to Triple-A were 2B Alex Blandino, RHP Jimmy Herget and RHP Tyler Mahle. Mahle, was in his second go at Double-A, has limited his hits and walks to less than one an inning and has pitched to a Deserved Run Average of 1.49 this year. Blandino, in his third-go at Double-A, finally produced his best offensive season of the three with a wOBA of .384 and OPS of .836, playing at multiple infield positions with a bulk of it at second, then third and short. Herget, from a low slot arm slot, throws a plus fastball and plus slider that should play well in a major league bullpen commanding it to both lefties and righties for swings and misses.
Orioles promoted OF Austin Hays to Double-A Bowie. There is power and hit to his game, with usable speed in the outfield providing good defense and a plus arm with carry. Greg Goldstein loves his style of play showing lots of passion and “one speed: full-go”, though bonehead miscues and swing-and-miss are a side effect because of it.
Mets RHP Marcos Molina was sent up to Double A. Coming off of a shoulder strain, which wrote about when he was activated from the DL, you can read a recent profile of him here, thanks to Josh Turner. Mets also moved up RHP Jordan Humphreys who has produced very good numbers at A-ball with Tim Tebow helping out in left field, at the box and in the stands. Seidler profiled him in a Monday Morning Ten Pack about a month ago now highlighting his stellar ERA and DRA, which have maintained since. I will profile him when he pitches for the Port St. Lucie Mets. Another St. Lucie newcomer is Merandy Gonzalez. You can read Jeffrey Paternostro’s look on the 21-year-old from his time in Brooklyn last year. Synopsis: a bullpen arm.
In other Tiger moves, they promoted the following: right-handed relief pitcher Gerson Moreno and Jason Foley, LF Cam Gibson, 1B Blaise Salter, and left-handed starting pitcher Austin Sodders. All except for Moreno, were moved up from A-ball to High-A, with Moreno moving up to Double-A. Moreno is a fastball-slider pitcher with power stuff with below average control and command.
Foley, a Sacred Heart Pioneer and Long Islander, went undrafted in 2016, and has pitched well in A-ball. He has touched 101 mph, but sits 97-99 with his fastball, which is complemented with a splitty and slider. The 21-year-old has managed to strike out a lot more guys than walks. Facing 115 Midwest batters, he has struck 36 and walked five over 29 innings. Mentioned also in that article is Sodders, who was drafted in the seventh round last year and put up similar numbers to Foley. In 11 games started accruing 64.1 innings, Sodders has a .96 WHIP .140 ERA and 3.11 DRA striking out 65 and walking 13. His groundball percentage is 45 percent. David Laurila, a favorite writer of mine, interviewed him a short time ago, and you can read his piece on him here.
Gibson and Salter both hail from Michigan State University, are 23-years-old, and were drafted in 2015. Gibson differs in showing speed and power (seven triples, 10 homeruns, 12 stolen bases) with an average bat in his second go at A-Ball. Salter has hit well in A-ball (.330) and slugged a bit (six homeruns) with no speed (no triples, two stolen bases). There is also the defense positional difference.
Red Sox promoted 3B Michael Chavis from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland. Chavis, drafted 26th overall in 2014, plays third base, as does Rafael Devers who has been killing it in Double-A. With Pablo Sandoval on the DL with an uncommon ear infection and the promotion of Chavis, a move for Devers is looming. This paragraph is about Chavis, so back to Chavis. He is a power guy (.323 ISO) who also strikeouts a lot, nearly one a game in High-A to 17 homeruns and 19 walks, with suspect defense – a .853 fielding percentage in High-A.
The Phillies promoted LF Andrew Pullin to Triple-A from Double-A. Signing out of high school in 2012, which seems like half a decade ago now (don’t worry because it was), for $203,900. Pullin has experienced the ups-and-downs of minor league ball, even retiring at one point. Matt Winkelman writes an excellent description of such. The Phillies also assigned RF Jhailyn Ortiz, 2B Raul Rivas, and SS Cole Stobbe to Short-Season A-Ball.
Brewers also joined in the promoting fun by moving OF Monte Harrison to the Carolina League (High-A) from the Midwest League. He is a 2nd round draft pick from 2014 who was in his third go at A-Ball (not a good sign) but understandable as he hit .218/.305/.362. Over 184 games Harrison struck out 244 times as well as walking 63 times with 19 homeruns and 25 stolen bases. He made 743 plate appearances. No secret, strike outs must be reduced.
D-Backs promoted RHP Jon Duplantier from A-Ball to High-A. Pitching quite well in A-ball, even earning MiLB Player of the Month in May, I wondered when he was going to be moved. For example, in his first 10 starts, he allowed three runs, all of which came in one outing on May 2nd, his fifth start. He has pitched at least five innings in all his appearances, going at least six in seven of his last eight starts. Unsurprisingly, the Rice product has struck out nearly 30 percent of his batters faced and walked about five percent. In the same week, pitchers RHP Ryan Burr and Tommy Eveld were promoted, too. Eveld is University of South Florida product with a fastball-slider combo and an interesting football background – recruited to play QB but a knee injury forced him to baseball. Clearly, he is very athletic, but what is better is his closer mentality, going 14-for-14. Standing six foot five and possessing still that football mentality with a plus fastball, Eveld is an intimidating force on the mound.
The Yankees promoted Domingo Acevedo to Triple-A. He performed well in his first start, giving 7 innings, striking out four but walking 5. Still, he only allowed one run. In his second start, he was roughed up for nine hits, five earned runs, three runs and four strikeouts. As I have mentioned before, the strike zone is one of the last boxes checked learned for players as the zone seems to get smaller and smaller the higher you move up. Therefore, I expect his control to adjust as he learns the zone, improving his K rate and runs allowed. I profiled Acevedo in a previous Weekly Wrap.
The Yankees also promoted 3B Miguel Andujar to Triple-A, likely due to Gleyber Torres’s UCL injury. Andujar plays major league defense at third base (occasionally trying to do too much) complemented with a plus-plus arm. Andujar also possesses plus raw power with potential for average game power, but with an average bat that plays down because he is pull-first, Andujar needs to improve his plate coverage away before he can solidify himself as a regular. To round out his tools, he has solid speed that plays on the base paths.
After starting the season with a right shoulder strain that resulted in missing all of April and May, Twins RHP Jake Reed is back in Triple-A after a stint in Double-A. A reliever, he is stingy with the hits and walks, but not the strikeouts.
With the start of Short-Season, here are some notable assignments, in additions to ones mentioned previously in no particular preference:
D-Backs: 1B Pavin Smith, 2017 first round pick, and C Daulton Varsho (son of Major Leaguer and now scout) assigned to Hillsboro Hops, Northwest League.
Indians: RF Will Benson, drafted 14th overall in 2016, to Mahoning Valley, New York-Penn League.
Toronto: 1B Kacy Clemens, son of RHP Roger Clemens, to Vancouver Canadians, Northwest League.
Twins: OF Brent Rooker, a senior who led the SEC in nine offensive categories and also won SEC Player of the Year, assigned to Elizabethton Twins, Appalachian League.
Down the Chutes
Acquired last year in the middle of the Arizona Fall League for OF Cameron Maybin, RHP Victor Alcantara was demoted to Double-A. He features plus stuff, but does not miss enough bats or throws enough strikes to be a shutdown reliever.